We all want to improve; it’s the nature of the game. To go out and score as low as possible. If we hit 80 one week we think we’ve cracked it and want to shoot 79 or less the next week.
There’s a problem with that though as the game is a great leveller. It has its own way of bringing us back down to earth with a thump it seems, at will.
I recall years ago when I had only just started playing the game, I was on a society day out to a lovely course in the Kent countryside. The course was fairly new, but deceptive in its maturity.
It was a glorious day weather wise and like everyone else, was looking forward to a great day and ‘ripping’ it up. Oh, how easily lured into such thinking I was!
A wicked temptress golf can be.
The day was wonderful but my golf was unfortunately, a sad state of affairs. Even though I was fairly new to the game, I could still get break a hundred, but that day it just seemed nothing was going to go right.
On more than one hole I didn’t even manage to get past the ladies’ tee.
You can imagine the feeling of ineptitude, walking painfully to my ball only a few yards in front of where I teed off, with my playing partners standing to my side looking over at me with knowing smiles and the forfeit of not having made it past the ladies’ tee.
It didn’t get much better as the day went on, so I resigned myself to enjoy the evening meal and the social side of the day once the pain of the golf had finally ended.
Then it hit me. Whilst I was having a shower and trying to get myself into a better state of mind, I suddenly realised that I was due to be playing in a club competition the next morning!
A feeling of utter dread came over me and the thought process of whether I should actually face the embarrassment of playing again so soon and this time in front of others at the golf club, not just a social group of old school friends.
A glass or two of something cold soon eased the pain of a battered ego and by the time we had finished dinner I had made a decision, albeit a beer and wine induced decision, that I would play the following day and take it like a man!
Now here’s the crazy part in all this.
Turning up to play, with all the problems of the previous day’s golfing fiasco fresh in my mind, was not what you would expect to be a recipe for success and I recall walking to the first tee rather gingerly, wondering if I was doing the right thing.
However, and I still don’t recall how, I somehow managed to go out and shoot my lowest score ever by some 10 shots!
There is no logic in this great game and something that keeps us coming back for more whether we shoot 10 over our handicap or 5 under it.
So here are 5 things that may be stopping you from improving:
1. Lack of preparation. In anything we do if we aren’t prepared then we aren’t giving ourselves any real chance of performing at our best or do ourselves justice. Rushing to the first tee because you’re late is a recipe for disaster just as arriving at the first tee with the wrong mindset is too.
2. Language. The way we speak to ourselves is key. When starting to play poorly, it’s vital to be aware when we are about to start to berate ourselves, which only makes matters worse. Negativity will only bring more negativity ie poor results.
3. Focus. Focusing on what you can change and leaving the things you can’t. Your thoughts, your actions, the target, the shot in hand are things you can change and leaving things like the weather, the water, bunker or your opponents’ score.
4. Relax. Find out what suit you. Whatever floats your boat; if it’s meditation, listening to classical music, thinking of sandy beaches or far-away places, you decide what works for you.
5. Have fun. During the high scoring round, I realised I wasn’t having fun. Others seemed to be having fun, albeit at my expense, but in reality, I was taking it all too seriously, which affected my game more.
This article was supposed to be about 5 things but this one I feel is extremely important, so I had to include it in here.
6. Blame. It’s the clubs. I need new clubs, a new driver or 3 wood or whatever. It’s the weather… the greens, the rough blah blah. No it wasn’t the clubs, the greens, the weather or anything else.
It was me!
Looking for blame rather than owning up to the problems was part of the problem!
The quality of my thinking and mindset was holding me back. I needed to up-level myself and my thinking that was all. Once that was addressed, things changed.
Do any of these apply to you and your game?
Try them out to see and if nothing else, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
You may just have more fun in the process.
To your success.
Performance Coach & Trainer at Golfing minds